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Coach appeals buyout

Posted: Tuesday, March 05, 2002

LITTLE ROCK -- Former Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson intends to appeal the university's decision to buy out his contract, his lawyer said Monday.

Arkansas bought out the remaining six years of Richardson's contract on Friday. The announcement came six days after Richardson had publicly said: ''If they go ahead and pay me my money, they can take the job tomorrow.''

Chancellor John A. White, who consulted with Athletic Director Frank Broyles before Richardson was bought out, said the ex-coach had until noon Monday to appeal to system President Alan Sugg. Richardson's attorney, John Walker, said he did not believe there was deadline.

Walker wrote letters to Sugg and White, the university said. The content of the letters were not released. The school said they pertained to a personnel matter and could be exempt from state Freedom of Information Act.

The university said it might release the letters later.

''Mr. Richardson ... did intend to seek review after being fully and completely informed of the nondiscriminatory reasons for the university's decision,'' Walker said. ''He wanted to know what Dr. Sugg's involvement in the decision-making process was.

''Dr. Sugg, as the reviewer, would be unbiased, and he would at least stand in the way of arbitrary, capricious, discriminatory or punitive action being taken by Chancellor White or Mr. Broyles toward Mr. Richardson,'' Walker said.

An appeal to Sugg was seen as a prerequisite for possible legal action by Richardson against the university.

Sugg was not available Monday, his office said.

Walker characterized Richardson's departure from Arkansas as a termination, not a mutual ending of the coach's contract.

The school said it ''concluded'' Richardson's employment at Arkansas after he refused to resign.

Richardson said last Thursday that he wanted to remain as coach. Walker said Monday that White was wrong ''when he indicated that Mr. Richardson desired to have Arkansas buy out his contract.''

Also Monday, assistant coach Mike Anderson said he had talked to his former boss and that Richardson is ''doing well.''

''We did have a chance to sit down and visit, and believe it or not it wasn't about basketball,'' Anderson said on the Southeastern Conference teleconference in advance of this week's tournament. ''Coach is doing good.''

Anderson will coach the Razorbacks through the league tournament.

White called Anderson a strong candidate to replace Richardson.

''That's a promise that I will make to Mike Anderson, is, 'You're going to get a very good look in the process,''' White said. ''He's got a great relationship with the players and I think the search committee will take a real good, hard look at Mike and give him every chance.''



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